Canberra have re-signed veteran forward Sia Soliola on a one-year contract to extend his stellar career into a 17th season.
Soliola, 34, has been one of the Raiders’ most consistent performers since joining the club back in 2015.
Now he will be rewarded with an extension for the 2021 season, which most likely will be his final season in the NRL.
Soliola said he signs this new deal with the feeling that he can continue the journey with the club which gave him the opportunity to return and succeed in the NRL.
“I’m really pumped. First and foremost, I want to thank the club for giving me another opportunity to play,” Soliola said.
“The year I’ve had has been a strange one but it its really nice at 34 to be playing the game I love. I’m really enjoying it and it’s a great group of guys and I think this club is going to be a consistent title contender for the future and I want to be part of that.”
The former New Zealand Test representative has endured a challenging 2020 season after fracturing his face in round 8 against St George Illawarra.
It was initially feared that Soliola would be out for the season when had to have 20 screws inserted into his face following multiple fractures.
He underwent surgery and could only eat blended food through a straw but remained determined to make a comeback.
Soliola achieved his goal in round 20 against Cronulla and played 47 minutes starting at prop.
He backed up with another 18 minutes at starting prop in last week’s win over the Sharks in the first week of the finals.
Canberra will rely on Soliola’s experience when they take on back-to-back premiers the Sydney Roosters in Friday night’s semi-final.
The Raiders defeated the Roosters at the SCG back in round 10, so they know they can beat the champions if they play to their potential.
Soliola has the size and smarts to challenge the Tricolours’ forward pack, led by Jared Waerea-Hargreaves and Sio Taukeiaho.
If Canberra can keep the Roosters’ big men quiet, it will open the door for star backs like Jack Wighton and Jarrod Croker to steer the Raiders to victory.
You can expect Soliola to also enjoy coming up against his former club.
He spent five seasons at the Roosters between 2005 and 2009, scoring 22 tries in 92 games.